by Brian Everett
Local Austin art-pop band Velo has been hard at work in the studio on a new EP, titled Spring. The EP officially drops today, but it is also part of a larger project - a concept LP due out in 2016. Recently, we caught up with lead singer Ofer Shouval as he was on his way to the studio to mix and pre-master Spring, and he was good enough to let us preview the record and discuss its release as well as the larger LP project.
Spring is the second of four three-track EP’s to be released this calendar year - Winter was released in early March, to be followed by Summer and Fall. At the end of the year the four EP’s will be compiled to form a twelve-track LP. “The project is a metaphor for a growth cycle. How we change over the course of time,” explains Ofer. “We have an idea of how the album starts and ends. Everything else is working itself out. We’re listening as we go along.”
While many bands will go into the studio and lay down an entire record before releasing it to the world, Velo isn’t afraid to release this set of EPs as works-in-progress - as parts of a broader project that is taking shape over time. As such, the EP’s will not sound the same when first released as they will when compiled for the full LP; they’ll be remixed and crafted into the larger work. That’s what makes this process so intriguing, the listeners are getting the privilege of hearing a first draft of these works, a snapshot of the band at an early point of time in the creation process. “We want our audience hear the music as it grows. We’re releasing the music as we go along for people to hear.”
Ofer tells us that even after a short three months Winter “is still trying to find its feet” and “feels like an atmospheric EP containing the things we first came up with.” To that end, Winter is full of lush, synth-fueled melodies that are rich in harmony and backed by drums that are present but never overstated. Spring finds Velo entering a new phase of their sound while still holding onto many of their signature qualities from Winter. “Spring feels strong and forward. We’re settling in the groove,” explains Ofer. “The songs are longer this time around. We wanted the songs to take their time and wanted to see how they grow.”
After a first listen, it’s evident that the vocals are more pronounced, the guitar work more lyrical, and with the addition of horns and strings (provided by their friends and local band, Mother Falcon), the band sounds three-dimensional and layered. The first track, “Triplet Song,” was originally written a couple years back and began as more of a folk song. The song features a triplet drum pattern throughout and is a driving tune that displays fearless vocals. It’s a proclamation - one that shows the band taking a bold step forward.
The second track, “Twinkle in The Skyline,” is Ofer’s favorite song on the EP. “This song reflects mostly where I’m at currently. Determined and happy. I’m in the groove and the band’s in the same place.” The final track “Wild Blue,” is the longest song on the EP coming in right at 6 minutes. This harmony-laced ballad features a rock-solid piano line and a kick-ass vocal melody that is accentuated with trumpet and crisp, colorful guitar work that effortlessly trickles away into the offering of the next season...
As far as concept albums go this project is certainly a unique vision, and one that presents as its concept the story of a band honing their craft. Velo’s 2015 seasonal EP release concept is not as much about particular seasons as it is about the band's current state of existence and the evolution of their writing and their sound over time. To be sure, Velo’s blooming with Spring.
The Sound Floor is happy to present the release of Velo’s second EP “Spring” at The Mohawk (indoors) today, Thursday June 4th. Velo will be joined on stage with friends SIP SIP, MILEZO, Tamarron and Hello Ocho. Doors open at 8:00.